Tuesday 17 January 2017

Polish parliament votes overwhelmingly to reject total ban on abortion

Published 06/10/2016 | 11:01

A sea of thousands of umbrellas of women and men participating in a nationwide strike to protest a legislative proposal for a total ban on abortion (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
A sea of thousands of umbrellas of women and men participating in a nationwide strike to protest a legislative proposal for a total ban on abortion (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
A woman shouts slogans as she takes part in an abortion rights campaigners' demonstration "Black Protest" in front of the Parliament in Warsaw, Poland October 1, 2016. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo
Thousands of people gather during an abortion rights campaigners' demonstration to protest against plans for a total ban on abortion in front of the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland Agencja Gazeta/Slawomir Kaminski/via REUTERS/File Photo

The Polish parliament has voted overwhelmingly to reject proposals for a total ban on abortion.

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The proposal had come from a citizens' initiative that gathered some 450,000 signatures, and it set out plans for abortion to be outlawed even in cases of rape, with prison terms for women who ended a pregnancy.

But it was highly unpopular with most Poles, sparking massive street protests by women dressed in black across the nation on Monday.

Many members of the conservative ruling party Law and Justice had initially supported the proposal, and two weeks ago a majority of parliamentarians voted to consider it, sending it to a commission for further study.

But the party backed away from it under massive social pressure, and MPs voted against it 352-58 on Thursday.

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